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Russia poised to decriminalize domestic violence

Russia has made moves to decriminalize domestic violence, Politico reports. The bill passed Russia's lower house of parliament with 368 lawmakers in favor, one vote against, and one abstention.

Conservative politician Yelena Mizulina is behind the bill, claiming "in the traditional family culture in Russia, parent-child relationships are built on the authority of the parents' power … The laws should support that family tradition." Mizulina also successfully pushed through Russia's controversial "gay propaganda" law, which made it illegal to talk to minors about LGBT themes or issues, including those that pertain to health.

In 2016, Russia decriminalized assault and battery in cases that did not lead to actual bodily harm, and the move to decriminalize "battery within the family" from a criminal offense to an administrative one is argued to be an issue of consistency. If the law were to pass, domestic violence would give an offender a fine, community service, or a short term in prison. Repeat offenses in a single year could lead to criminal charges.

"If you slap your mischievous kid, you're threatened with up to two years [in prison]," Mizulina said. "But if your neighbor beats your child — everything ends with an administrative punishment. How many more families will waste police resources, while the duma discusses [the proposed changes]? … There are 20 million families with children in the Russian Federation. All of them are in danger."